By Jude Abare
1. TYRON - Slowthai
Slowthai is able to balance the signature sound he is known for while tapping into his more vulnerable side. Side A of this album shows us that he can improve on what he already does well, grimy beats, fast, aggressive rapping, and overall sense of toughness while staying playful and light at times. Side B is where he starts to open
up musically, the fast-paced drums and knocking 808 are swapped for slower tempos and more sensitive sounds that allow him to explore more of his voice. He opens up about drug addiction, thoughts of failure and past failed romantic connections. Slowthai is stepping into his full artistic shoes in this album, he has music for his fans who like to mosh and break shit while also having these deep, emotionally charged cuts. He pours his heart out on this album, both sides, both different sides of Slowthai.
2. HARAM - Armand Hammer & The Alchemist
The combo of Billy Woods and Elucid is Armand Hammer. A forward-thinking rap duo with strong ties to some of the most undersung artists in the modern rap world, The Alchemist is one of them. I actually had no idea who this group was before listening to this album. After listening to HARAM I did a deep binge of their available discography and I was hooked. This group is able to combine and fuse so many different aspects of different genres of music, the old New York sound is prevalent but still remains present in modern time due to the stellar production. The Alchemist is responsible for the production of every track on this album with the only co-producer being Earl Sweatshirt on track 6. The Alchemist brings the best out of the artists he produces for, this project is no exception. This is by far the best Armand Hammer project to date, they rap about class, homophobia, and police brutality all under the name of a billionaire oil tycoon with strong ties to the Soviet Union. This project is a must listen from this year, definitely an interesting sound, but a unique one and one that instantly engaged me.
3. A Love Supreme (Live in Seattle) - John Coltrane
While this is not a new album by any means, it was made available to the public this year so I'm counting it. A Love Supreme is one of my favorite jazz records of all time, the pure spirituality that the record exudes should be enough for even a non-jazz fan to connect deeply with. The raw emotions of the original Coltrane compositions that make up A Love Supreme are only highlighted in these unreleased live cuts. It feels as if Coltrane is speaking directly to whoever listens, the band behind himself on Tenor Saxophone includes McCoy Tyner(Piano), Elvin Jones(Drums), Jimmy Garrison(Bass), Pharoah Sanders(Tenor Saxophone/Percussion), Donald Garrett(Bass), This keeps the original quartet from the studio version but adds a second Bass and Tenor Sax player which only adds to the depth of this album. It creates a true mood, the sound of this record surrounds the listener, if you can make it happen, I really really advise cutting out an hour of a day where you can just sit down with some headphones and listen to this all the way down. I promise if you go into this with an open mind to music, something on this record will resonate with you. I know free jazz is not the most welcoming genre of music to listen to but what Coltrane represents is beyond music, he found true enlightenment through this music and in my opinion is the single greatest mind Jazz has ever seen.
4. Untourable Album - Men I Trust
This album is so wonderful, the best studying music hands down. So subtle yet so full of emotional and lyrical content. The ability this band has to fill up a room
with a warm sound but it never sounds overbearing on the listener, again a great album to listen to with
headphones. I’ve been shuffling Men I Trust anytime I need to get work done, it keeps me engaged in both what I'm working on and what I'm listening to. The lush sound of this band is a refreshing listen from a lot of indie music which has sadly started to blend in with the rest, this album mixes acoustic and electronic instruments very well and everything feels very purposeful with this whole project.
5. To Hell With It - PinkPantheresss
This project while short is a perfect example of how a lot of albums can be cut down to the best 20-30 minutes. The combination of dreamy hyper-pop influenced synths and fast-paced almost jungle drums are something I had no idea I’d enjoy as much as I did. The eerie yet extremely melodic tones of PinkPantheresss’ voice flows so well with her beat choices and her vocal performance on the whole album is very enjoyable. I found her music through SoundCloud digging and let me tell you if this is the first real project we are getting from her then we are in good shape. There are endless PinkPantheresss leaks on SoundCloud and they are all insanely good but the studio album has a polish that was a nice change from the SoundCloud work. All in all, very enjoyable experience listening, and definitely would recommend.
Check out all of these albums on Spotify or Soundcloud!!
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